Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Daniel De La Torre Ugarte

Committee Members

Dayton M. Lambert, Michael D. Wilcox, Neal Eash


In recent years there has been a movement on the part of farmers, governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), and the international community to promote the use of sustainable agricultural practices. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this has translated into programs with the expressed aim of increasing smallholder farmer adoption rates of conservation agriculture (CA). This thesis contributes to the analysis of the adoption of conservation agriculture by smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa by assessing the economic status of CA adopters in the providences of Manica and Tete, Mozambique.

Chapter II of the thesis examines the ceteris paribus correlation between smallholder farm household economic wellbeing with the use of conservation agriculture. Household wellbeing indicators are regressed on household demographic attributes, farm management practices, and a variable indicating the CA adoption status of farms. Of particular interest is the association between the use of conservation agriculture practices and a set of composite wellbeing indices comprised of livestock and asset ownership, and housing material quality. The results suggest that, holding other factors constant, CA households have higher wellbeing index scores related to asset ownership and housing material quality, but lower index scores related to livestock ownership.

Chapter III of the thesis analyzes smallholder marketing of maize and use of CA by farmers. The chapter examines the factors associated with the likelihood of a household participating in maize markets as a vendor or buyer, and the subsequent quantity of maize transacted. A censored regression model estimates the intensity of market participation because a large number of households do not buy or sell grain. Of particular interest is the correlation between the adoption of CA practices and the likelihood a household sold or purchased maize. Results suggest that households using CA were more likely to sell maize and less likely to purchase maize for household consumption. However, the overall quantities sold by CA adopters and non-adopters were not different. Households using CA also exhibited different maize marketing patterns with transactions more evenly distributed throughout the year, as compared to non-CA households whose transactions were concentrated during times when food was scarce.

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